[?BECKER, W.]. Album of the finest Birds of all countries. Philadelphia: Weik & Wieck, [c. 1860].

$ 12,500.00

Oblong folio, (10 ¾ x 14 3/8 inches). 25 fine lithographed plates with original hand color (evenly toned, one or two spots). Original publisher’s white moire cloth, elaborately decorated in red, blue, green, and gilt in a bird and floral motif (a bit rubbed and faded, extremities worn).

First edition. Gorgeous and scarce ornithological album in the style of French artist Traviés, printed and hand-colored in Germany for American consumption. Weik & Wieck was a firm that imported German books for its Pennsylvania-German clientele. The back cover bears the credit of W. Becker as delineator and lithographer, who is most likely to have been responsible for the plates (which are unsigned). There are 14 plates depicting American birds, 5 depicting European birds, 1 depicting Asian birds, and 5 depicting Australian birds, and they are captioned in both English and German. The plates are: Black-breasted Humming-bird / The King [America]; Blue-green Humming-bird / Crested Humming-bird [America]; Red Tangara / Blue Wood-pecker [America]; Humming-birds [America]; Blue-headed Tangara / Green Euphone [America]; Macaw / Toucan [America]; Capuchin-finch / American Tanagra [America]; Crested Fly-catcher / Gold-Tanagra [America]; Spotted Singer / Blue Fly-catcher [America]; Crowned Fly-catcher / Euphony [America]; Thread-tailed-mannikin / Blue Hooded Tangara [America]; Delaland Humming-bird / Cora Humming-bird [America]; Fly Catcher, Male and Female [America]; Pea-cock & Pea-hen [Europa]; Wild Duck, Male and Female [Europa]; Tomtit / Greenfinch [Europa]; Chaffinch, Male & Female [Europa]; Shrike [Europa]; Gold-pheasant / Silver-pheasant [Asia]; Thread-tailed Epimachus / Red Bird of Paradise [Australia]; Parrots [Australia]; Blue Girl / Royal Bird of Paradise [Australia]; Titmouse / Wren [Australia]; and Undulated Parrot [Australia]. Not in Nissen.